#SmearForSmear 2018

As the www.jostrust.org.uk #SmearforSmear 2018 campaign has just drawn to a close, I thought I'd re-post an old post from a few years ago about my first smear experience. 

Yes, that's right. Only a few years ago, aged 30! 

Hopefully by people sharing their own stories, by showing that being scared is totally normal, by letting people know that in reality it really isn't that scary, we can encourage others to go for that all important overdue smear.

"We want every woman to know that smear tests can prevent cervical cancer. Help us reach as many women as possible with a message about the importance of smear tests. Your post might be the reminder or encouragement someone needs to go for their smear test, it could save a life." Jo's Trust



My Story, 2015

Just go for your Smear.

Easy right? Just go?

Or maybe not....

The current guidelines in England are that every women is invited to have a smear test at 25.

I was no different.

The letter landed on my doorstep shortly after my 25th Birthday.

And what did I do? 

Book the appointment?

Nope. Of course not. 

It ended up in a pile of junk mail and later in the bin.

Over the past 5 years I have had MANY reminders through the post.

The same thing happened to each and every one.

Why?

Was I scared?

I don't feel like I was.

I've had anyone and everyone *down there* during my 3 pregnancies.

And having 3 children naturally, I certainly wasn't bothered about any pain it might cause.

Dignity literally disappears when you have children. So I have non of that left.

Was it laziness?

I don't feel like it was that either. After all, it doesn't take much to pick up the phone and book. And I've been to the doctors enough times over the past 5 years.

I honestly couldn't give you one reason WHY I didn't book that appointment when prompted to do so. 

I just didn't.


So why now at 30 years old?

I don't know that either.

Over the years I've read many stories about women who've had cervical cancer, most notably the Jade Goody story in the media.

Such a tragic story, yet it STILL didn't prompt me to go.

Whilst the rest of the world were calling to lower the smear test age, I was getting older and older and ignoring it.

I have PCOS which gives me a higher risk of cancer. 

That STILL didn't prompt me to go.

I have three beautiful children who I want to be around for, for as long as I possibly can.

But that STILL didn't prompt me to go.

.....

Then one day last week, I saw a friend share a story on facebook of a girl going through cervical cancer. She had just come out of surgery. The cancer was picked up early via her routine smear test and as such she stood a very good chance of beating it.

I didn't even read the full story before picking up the phone and calling my GPs.

What was so different about this story over all the others I had read?

I think it is because this was a positive story. 

The media tend to write about the tragic stories. The ones like Jade, where they lose their battle with the cancer.

Maybe I was scared of that? The dying. Leaving my 3 children.

Maybe, if I was going to die anyway, I'd rather not know?

But this story was one where the smear test had picked it up and she was going to overcome it. She was beating cancer.

So I thought, right, IF it turns out I do have something bad picked up, I WANT to know, I WANT to deal with this. I WANT to live.

.......

So, I went along today to the appointment I made last week.

And guess what?


It didn't hurt!
It wasn't undignified!
and it lasted a matter of minutes!

Job done.

I put those 3 easy minutes off for the last 5 years for nothing!

What a fool.

So now I await the results.

Which stand a very good chance of being all clear.

But if they are not. At least I will know. I can deal with it.



If you, like me, have been putting yours off, for reasons you don't even know or can't explain, PLEASE, just pick up the phone and call now.

You won't regret having a smear but you may regret not.

.....

2018 update: My smear results were normal. And it feels good to know that.

And now we are nearly 3 years down the line so I will soon receive that letter to once again go for my smear.

And I will call up the very day that letter arrives to prompt me to do so.

And I will go.

Because now I know there is absolutely nothing stopping me.

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